Getting Started: Crafting your story

Tell Your Story

Storytelling: The art of communicating your inspirations, most meaningful experiences, competencies & accomplishments to an audience.

Part I: Reflect on Your Story

Your Inspirations

  • Who or what inspires you? What about this person/topic inspires you?
  • In what ways does this inspiration impact your decisions, if at all?

Example: Chen is inspired by their mother who works two jobs and finished a college degree and yet is always there for them. This inspires Jane to give their best and to be resilient, even when facing obstacles.

Your Most Meaningful Experiences

  • Jot down 3-5 of the most meaningful experiences you’ve had so far (i.e. classes, clubs, jobs, travels).
  • What are key takeaways, skills you used, challenges you overcame, etc. through these experiences?
  • Are there connections or patterns that emerge from your responses? Stuck? Try completing these sentences:
    • I like experiences that involve….
    • My strengths lie in…..
    • I thrive in environments that….


Your Competencies

  • Review the College Competencies and describe at least one example for how you developed each competency.
  • Which competencies do you want to strengthen, and how could you go about this?

Example: Adaptability & Resiliency-After earning an exam grade I wasn’t happy with, I met with my professor and attended a study skills session at CETL. I committed to improving my study habits and on my next exam, I was proud to see my improved performance.

Your Accomplishments

  • What are some of your greatest accomplishments and what do these say about you?

Example: My greatest accomplishment is getting accepted into college and moving out of state to come to Rochester as a first-generation student. I had to learn how to “do college” on my own and I think this shows my dedication, tenacity and ability to overcome challenges.


Part II: Telling Your Story to an Audience

Who You Are Communicating Your Story To

  • Who is your audience (the individual(s) you are communicating with)? What do you know about your audience?
  • Why are you communicating your story to them? What might your audience be interested in learning about you?
  • How might you tailor your story in a way that is meaningful and relevant to your audience?

Example: I am interviewing for a job on campus as an Admissions tour guide. The Admissions Office is looking for current students who can share their experience at UR with prospective students and families. They would be interested in learning about what my experience as a student has been like and why I want to be a tour guide. They would also want to know how comfortable I am with meeting new people and public speaking. During my interview, I am going to be sure to describe my extroverted nature and my experience on my high school’s debate team, which have prepared me well for a tour guide role.

Resources to go deeper

  • Design Your Life or WRTG 27x – Communicating Your Professional Identity courses
  • Quinncia – Practice telling your story for your resume and interviewing.
  • Make an appointment with a Career Advisor through Handshake to reflect on and review your story for interviews, resumes and personal statements.


Download an editable worksheet